Compensatory damages are awarded in personal injury cases for “actual losses” based on the proven harm, loss, or injury suffered by the plantiff.  Actual losses cover out-of-pocket expenses; for medical expenses, property damage, and loss of income. General damages may also be awarded for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and lost opportunity for the future enjoyment of life. Personal injury losses may include:

Actual Losses

Medical Expenses

Medical bill damages can include past and future expenses incurred due to the injury.

Property Damage

Property damages can include replacement or repair of any property harmed in an accident. A good example of property damage is automobile damage. A plaintiff may be awarded not only the costs of repair and loss of value to the car, but also the loss of value to assets contained within the car and reimbursement for temporary transportation. The first step in obtaining property damages is to hire an appraiser. The appraiser will determine the property value before and after the accident. If the property is used for one’s job, the plaintiff may be compensated for loss of income.

Loss of Income

Loss of income or “lost wages” are determined by the income that would have been gained except for the injury. This may include:

  • Lost wages due to medical treatment of the injury
  • Loss of one’s future earnings in cases where the plaintiff can no longer work due to the injury
  • In cases of wrongful death family members may sue for the lost income that the victim would have earned based on his or her age and current salary. For example, a younger person would have a greater loss of future earnings in the event of an untimely death.

General Damages

Pain and Suffering

Personal injury cases are extremely painful. Victims and their families experience a range of emotions as they navigate injuries and losses. While each individual experiences pain differently, the law looks at several factors to determine the amount of emotional damages. Factors to determine the amount of damages awarded include:

  • Amount of medication the injured person required
  • The types and length of treatments necessary
  • The duration of the recovery period
  • The testimony of family and friends about the change in the victim’s quality of life, comparing the victim’s condition and normal activities prior to and after the accident

If the injury is permanently disabling, it’s important to seek out expert testimony to support the victim’s claim and help determine the most suitable value of damages to be sought.

Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress

Mental anguish and emotional distress covers the mental responses caused viewing a traumatic event. Common symptoms of mental anguish include:

  • Terror
  • Shock
  • Apprehension
  • Confusion
  • Humiliation
  • Sorrow

Because of the subjective nature of this type of compensation, Louisiana has instituted guidelines such as the “zone of danger” test which takes into account how physically close the plaintiff was to the accident and the “physical manifestation rule” which requires that the emotional distress be exhibited by physical reactions such as depression, anxiety intense enough to cause ulcers, or loss of appetite and weight.

Loss of Consortium

The loss of consortium refers to the inability of the victim to engage in the activities related to companionship with his or her spouse or loved ones at the level he or she once enjoyed.

Lost Opportunity

Loss of opportunity, or loss of chance, damages refer to the inability to obtain a benefit or avoid a loss due to an injury. These opportunities may include a job opportunity or the opportunity to improve one’s medical condition.


The lawyers at Broussard and Hart have recovered over $100 million in compensatory and punitive damages. We may not be able to guarantee you a certain amount but we always guarantee you hard work. Our attorneys are committed to your success and recovery. Contact us today for a free initial consultation about your case.

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Our attorneys will review your case and represent you throughout your personal injury claim. Contact Broussard & Hart L.L.C. today for help pursuing a personal injury settlement. Your first consultation is free and we won’t charge fees unless money is recovered.

Learn More about Personal Injury Lawsuits

What Should I Bring with Me to Our Initial Personal Injury Meeting?
Is Compensation from a Personal Injury Accident Taxable?
Do I Have to Give a Statement to the Adjuster?
What Happens In a Personal Injury Accident Lawsuit in Louisiana?
PDF: Steps in Louisiana Personal Injury Lawsuit
General Instructions for Injury Clients

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